Friday, April 13, 2012

Return to the Flesh Tearers - Improving the Process

So it'd been roughly 10 months since I touched a Secret Army Project that almost no one knew about.  Which meant that I needed to go back and check my notes.  Which ended up with some light face palming.

I know that feel, Ironhide.
It turns out that while most of my notes on the paint scheme I was using were meticulously written down - complete with color swatches and the whole bit - I had completely forgotten to write down my highlighting recipe.  It also turned out that there were a ton of places that my process needed improving.

Firstly, I was using black primer and then airbrushing on Mechrite Red base so that I could then airbrush in the Red Gore base I actually wanted.  Which is a horrible way to do things.

So I did some experimentation with red primer and skipping the Mechrite Red.  It's not exactly the same shade, but if it's damn close.  Close enough that I can save a a lot of airbrushing time and a lot of worry have about sourcing paint colors.  The recent GW change over makes the old colors scarce and I'm not sure any of the stores near me have switched over yet.

There was also a brief scare when I found out that my treasured Vallejo Model Air Satin Varnish had been discontinued.  Turns out that it didn't matter since it was the regular model color varnish in a different package.  Phew.

Then I had to reconstruct my highlighting scheme.  Because I'm an idiot who didn't write things down.  Luckily, there was a sudden gust of good memory and this was a breeze.  But then I was face to face with the fact that I spend too much time custom mixing every damn highlight and shade in the army.

Which is where we come in today.  Custom mixing every highlight is horribly time consuming.  Especially with my wet pallet's tendency to over thin my paint.  Lots and lots of remixing. Which leads to frustration.  If this project hadn't been started yet, this wouldn't be an issue since I could compromise and attempt to get a pre-mixed shade close to what I wanted.  I'm 15 models on already, so for the sake of standardization, I gotta go another route - mixing my own.

Plus, I already own most of the red's I can get my hands on.  So my chances for getting THE pinkish red I needed are slim.

So armed with a stash of relevant old-GW paints, some mixing bottles and some pipettes, I set to work.

I save all my pewter cut offs for a rainy day.  this time they become agitators.
I have two highlight mixes to make.  The first one is about 50/50 Vomit Brown and Red Gore.  Using plain ol' water and a pipette with a 1ml mark on it, I figured out what this ratio would look like on a large scale.  I marked the bottles at 8ml increments to take as much of the guessing out of the process as possible.

you can see what passed for my color master over there on the square base.
I was a little off, but I got close enough without too much trouble... at least on the first highlight.  The extreme highlight went poorly as I completely misjudged how much white needed to be added to the original 50/50 base.  A lot of paint ended up being wasted.  But I got pretty close to the original in the end and that's what matters.

Huge time savings.  In a bottle.
I was also custom mixing my black highlights as well, but the reaper Dusky Skin Triad took care of that a while ago.  Score one for serendipity.

So, with the custom colors out of the way, it'll be on to the last of the Cyclone Terminators.  These are the last two guys I worked on before progress halted.


  1. Wow, pipettes, you are way hardcore.

    So, green marines and now red ones. That's one reason why I resolved long ago to never start another marine army, I'm never happy with the chapter I pick.

    1. I know, man, I know. There are just so many cool lookin' chapters.